I have reason to believe that Pot Roast emerged from his dog momma’s womb with toenail issues. There’s always something going on with them—they’re growing in crooked and pressing into his foot pads, they’re cracked and purple, they’re being ripped out entirely during a particularly excited bully run, they’re turning septic and nearly killing him. Every darn day! We’re constantly in and out of the vet office medicating, soothing and healing his toenails.

That being said, Pot Roast is bizarrely calm about these procedures. He delicately holds out his feet for his “treatments” and stares at me with only a modicum of disdain when I bring out the nail file to saw away at the offending nails. He’s patient at having his feet constantly pawed at, something that my husband and I marvel at all the time.

We usually cut Pot Roast’s toenails out on our raised deck where it’s sunny and warm. We lie out his bed, bring a bucket full of treats, and then out comes the Dremel tool. This is when Pot Roast tries to bolt. He sees that Dremel and knows what he’s about to put up with, and this is the only point at which he really shows any frustration. I get it. Having your sensitive toenails worked at by a machine can’t be much fun.

But we set to work and the process is over pretty quickly. Then I bust out a nail file to gently work at the really damaged nails with a smaller tool. After this, his feet are slathered in a bacteria-fighting cream because he struggles so bad with allergies that his feet tend to scab. And then heck, why not give him a brush at this point! We get right down to grooming with our “Furminator,” and then heck, since we’re there, we might as well brush his teeth and take care of the whole body, right? All said and done, Pot Roast is sparkly new and happy to be set free (and given a treat for his patience).

One afternoon, after our regular ritual, Pot Roast having scampered off to the yard with his frozen Kong, my neighbour called hello from his back deck. He’d been watching me at work grooming Pot Roast and had a big smile on. “I tell ya, if anyone looked after me the way you look after that dog, I’d have nothing to worry about ever again.” We laughed. Pot Roast is spoiled as heck. But I also hear my neighbour chat with him at night when he thinks I can’t hear. How’s our boy? Momma good to you today?

Pot Roast is definitely spoiled. I’m the first to admit it. He gets birthday dog cupcakes and grooming sessions that make him fit to visit the Queen. But what do we have pets for if not to love them like family? Don’t they deserve love and snuggles and care that rival the rest of our loved ones? Pot Roast emphatically feels that if I get my fingernails filed, he should be in on that action. And what can I say? One look at that football head and I’m undone. I’m putty in his paw.

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